There’s two kinds of travellers: those that pride themselves on packing as little as possible, and those who pack as much as they’re allowed. I must confess to being one of the latter!
When Jesus sent out the Twelve to preach the kingdom of God, he gave them what seems to us to be very strange instructions about what they were to take with them. He told them to simply go themselves and actually pack nothing for the journey:
Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt…. So, they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere (Luke 9:1–3,6, NIV).
The reason why Jesus said this was because he had his eye on a deeper meaning behind this. He wanted to use the kingdom-sharing journey of the Twelve as an illustration of how his followers are to travel through life.
There’s too often a great disconnect between what followers of Jesus say they believe, and how they live. Jesus calls his followers to travel lightly through the world.
That’s the opposite to how society tells us that we should travel. Society tells us that we should weigh ourselves down with possessions: houses, cars, boats, investments, and bank accounts. These are all the things that are meant to give meaning and importance to our lives.
But Jesus shows us a better way to live. It’s entirely counter-cultural and counter-worldly, but it’s how we’ll live if we are truly citizens of the Kingdom. Jesus tells us to travel lightly through the world.
If our goal is to accumulate “stuff,” then we have misunderstood the meaning of life and our purpose in this world. We are here on a mission, and the “stuff” that we cram into our lives just weigh us down.
Perhaps it’s time to declutter your life for the sake of Jesus.
We mustn’t misunderstand here. Jesus isn’t saying that he wants his followers to get rid of everything they own and to run to the hills. He knows we have needs in life, and he will provide us whatever it is that we need (Matt 6:25–33). He doesn’t usually provide for us out of thin air, although certainly does work miracles when he wishes. God usually provides for us through our own hard work, diligence, and skills.
What Jesus is saying is not about not “having,” but instead about how we use what we “have.” If your possessions are weighing you down for the mission of sharing the Gospel, then they’re a problem. If you’re using your possessions, not for yourself, but for the sake of the spreading the Kingdom of God, then you are travelling through the world the way that Jesus wants you to.
We all leave footprints wherever we go. Those who travel lightly for the sake of the Good News of Jesus leave a footprint of grace, kindness, and generosity. It’s the footprint of Jesus himself. But those who travel through the world weighed down by possessions cannot achieve much for the Gospel. Instead their footprints are marked by worldly ambition and selfish acquisition, usually at the expense of others.
You’ve been sent by Jesus to proclaim the Good News. So, are you travelling lightly through the world, or is your junk weighing you down? Perhaps it’s time to declutter your life for the sake of Jesus.
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.
About the Author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question.